You don't have to board a plane to visit somewhere spectacular! See our pick of the best British seaside breaks, from £50 a night...
Wales has some of the most beautiful coastline in the country, and if you?ve never been before, you should take a trip to the Pembrokeshire stretch of the Wales Coast Path. Part of it goes past Saundersfoot, a pretty seaside resort located between Tenby and Amroth. It has a beautiful, award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach and colourful harbour with pleasure boat moorings. There are also plenty of nearby attractions, including boat trips to Caldey Island, Pembroke Castle and the pretty town of Tenby. Visitors should not forget to pack their bikes as the hotel is able to recommend the perfect cycle route for all guests on two wheels. Saundersfoot is on the Celtic Trail, a long distance cycle touring route that leads to Fishguard.
Stay at the St Brides Spa Hotel, which offers spectacular views over Carmarthen Bay that guests can enjoy from the hotel?s infinity hydro pool as well as from many of the 34 individually styled bedrooms. Dinner is served in the Cliff Restaurant and Gallery Bar, which also affords sea views, and emphasises Pembrokeshire produce and locally caught seafood. Guests can also wander around the hotel?s art gallery, which is currently exhibiting paintings from Welsh artists Shirley Anne Owen, Anna Waters and Alison Kaye Fowler.
HOW: A double room at the St Brides Hotel starts from £160 on a b&b basis, based on two sharing; includes a complimentary 90 minute session in the thermal suite, unlimited access to the gym, high speed wifi and free car parking. To book, visit www.stbridesspahotel.com
Studland?s scenic four mile stretch of golden sand has something for everyone to enjoy. In the summer the beach comes truly alive, with many taking to the seas in the boats available to hire. This safe and friendly beach is perfect for picnics and for building sandcastles, and the heathland that lies behind it has a treasure trove of wildlife for kids to explore. With gently shelving bathing waters and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight, the beach is an ideal place for water sports and to watch the world go by. Be sure to bring buckets and spades with you for a blissful day on the sands. Stay at the lovely Seaview cottage, which sleeps six. Formerly a tennis pavilion, this unusual cottage stands on the edge of Studland village. Its verandah, with seating area, enjoys superb views over Studland Beach, while just 180 metres away is South Beach, a sandy and secluded area popular with local people. There is a large enclosed garden and parking for one car with extra free parking across the road.
HOW: Three nights cost from £479. Book via www.nationaltrustholidays.org.uk/holiday-cottage/seaview-studland-dorset/
Enjoy a beautiful summer stroll along Saunton Sands, in North Devon. From the car park, shops and restaurant at the north end of the beach, Saunton Sands opens up to beautiful scenery and a fabulous scenic walk. Start by walking along the sands itself, following the shore line south and splashing in the sea, and if you walk far enough, the beach ends at Crow Point, which is only accessible by foot. The neck of a river joins the sea at Crow Point and the scenery is simply picture worthy. It is then time to head back, but this time head through Braunton Burrows, an almost never ending series of sand dunes. Disappear into the dunes for a remote trek, popping to the top of a dune every now and again to spot the sea and make sure you?re still going north. The round walk will take a long day, and you can stop for a gorgeous beach picnic at lunchtime, but eventually you?ll end up back at the car park.
There are a couple of fascinating facts about Saunton Sands: in the late 1990s, the beach was used as the location for the video of the Robbie Williams song, Angels, and it also showed up in the 1946 movie A Matter of Life and Death, featuring David Niven as a military pilot.
Stay at Ocean Point, a brilliantly modern and luxury apartment that sleeps four. This property is right on top of the cliff with unrivalled panoramic views out over the sea, Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows.
HOW: Ocean Point costs £735 for 7 nights; book via www.thelittledomain.com/cottages/ocean-point
The quintessentially Cornish town is situated perfectly overlooking the Camel Estuary to Rock beach in North Cornwall. The harbour is undoubtedly the strongest attraction in the town and visitors find themselves drawn to it like a magnet. Fishing and pleasure craft rock side-by-side on their moorings, children fish for crabs from the harbour wall, quayside inns and cafes overlook the calm water. There are seats all around the harbour and because there’s always something going on, it’s such a restful and interesting place that it’s a favourite spot for both locals and visitors. There are several beaches to visit, including St George?s Well and Harbour Cove.
For the perfect foodie seaside break, stay in one of the beautiful coastal inspired rooms at Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant and enjoy seafood landed right on the doorstep dining at his renowned restaurant. It celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and each of the 16 rooms has been individually designed by Rick?s former wife, Jill, combining coastal charm with luxury finishing touches such as handmade biscuits, freshly ground coffee and locally delivered milk every morning. An award winning breakfast awaits sees you choose from a proper English, adorned with dry cure streaky bacon, local sausages and free range eggs or try the smoked haddock kedgeree with a hint of Indian spice inspired by Rick’s travels.
HOW: Prices start from £154 for two in a cosy room, including breakfast. Book via www.rickstein.com/stay/the-seafood-restaurant/.
Tucked away on the Suffolk coast, the peaceful, colourful heath-land of the Dunwich Heath Nature Reserve, with its shingle and sand beach, is rich with wildlife and ideal for birdwatchers, nature lovers, walkers, and families looking for a great day out. Head to the shingle beach for a walk along the shoreline where you can witness the constantly changing coastline. Late summer sees a patchwork of purple and yellow heather come into full bloom, making it an unmissable experience. The beach is rich in wildlife with Dartford warblers, nightjars, and woodlark ready to spot.There?s plenty of activities to get involved with as well, especially for families wanting to keep the kids entertained, including geocache trails, scavenger hunts and flying kites in the summer sunshine.
Stay at Woodlark Cottage, which sleeps four people. With fabulous views over the landscape of Dunwich Heath and Beach from every window, this first floor apartment occupies an enviable position. The largest of the three apartments in a building that was once home to the Coastguard it now offers excellent accommodation for a couple or family.
This peaceful location is a bird watchers paradise with the heath on your doorstep attracting special species such as nightjar, woodlark and warblers. It neighbours impressive RSPB Minsmere where you can watch rare and migrating birds in the coastal lagoons. Hours of fun can be had exploring the vast, family friendly beach or taking part in the many activities on offer from pond dipping to bug hunting before returning for a well-deserved cake from the tea-room.
For a change of scenery the pretty seaside towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh are a short drive away.
HOW: Woodlark Cottage costs from £273 for two nights; book via www.nationaltrustholidays.org.uk/search/
The beach at Looe may not be the most spectacular, biggest, or attractive, but it?s the town behind the sand that that makes visiting this tiny pocket of Cornwall memorable. Ample parking is situated inland, and as guests travel into the small town and fishing port it quickly becomes apparent that the place is full of character, with a friendly atmosphere and a loving community. It?s great for shopping, because to get to the beach you have to travel through the historical, car free streets to reach it, and on the way are a wide range of shops, selling everything you?d ever expect to find in a traditional seaside town. From the local Co-op and a range of modern chains, to quaint family run shops selling handmade souvenirs and gifts, on the way to and from the beach the shops will pull everyone one in.
Stay at the lovely Little Tamaris cottage, which sleeps four, and is situated in a quiet location near to Looe. Colourful, with sea views over the bay towards Looe Island, Tamaris has a suntrap garden and is also very near The Monkey Sanctuary for something different to experience!
HOW: The cottage costs from £480 for 7 nights. Book via www.thelittledomain.com/cottages/little-tamaris
Croyde is an ?exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin? type of beach; sand dunes, golden beach, surf-able waters, rock pools, ice cream parlour. Everything a beach should be stripped back to its basic format. It is therefore the best place to sunbath. With the family distracted playing in the sea or building sandcastles there?s nothing left to do but relax in the sun. Just the two of you? Even better, pick a quiet spot, and sunbathe the day away without a worry or a care. If you fancy a summer stroll, the village lies on the South West Coast Path – a beautiful stretch of coastline – near to Baggy Point, which is owned by the National Trust.
Nearby you can visit Clovelly Village, a unique and unspoilt fishing village on the coast with steep cobbled streets and quaint cottages. donkey stables and craft workshops. Further afield is the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park (www.wildlifedinosaurpark.co.uk) – no, nothing like Jurassic Park, these ancient woodlands within their natural setting on the edge of stunning Exmoor, are host to a incredible range of wildlife which come from all corners of the globe. You can explore 25 acres of beautiful gardens, with cascading waterfalls and free flying tropical birds, and see falconry displays, sea lion shows, animal handling sessions and more.
Stay at the Braemar Bungalow, a delightful bungalow that sleeps 6 near the village and beach of Croyde. The outside includes an enclosed garden with a raised paving area, outside seating and BBQ.
HOW: Braemar costs from £965 for seven nights in August; book via www.thelittledomain.com/cottages/braemar
Safe, sandy… and absolutely gorgeous; with its panoramic view of Mounts Bay and the iconic St Michael?s Mount, the beach in the historic market town of Marazion is a great place to spend a day building sandcastles, rockpooling or enjoying the sunshine. The waters are crystal clear (recently awarded the highest water quality standard mark and a Marine Conservation Society recommended beach for 2014) and when tides are low you can walk across the ancient causeway into the harbour of St Michael?s Mount and discover the king of all castles. Offering something for everyone, Marazion is a lively historic town with an active community and a host of cafes, pubs and art galleries, as well as a local store, post office and deli. The South West Coastal Path runs through the town and the RSPB nature reserve is home to Cornwall?s largest reed bed and an abundance of plants and birds.
Situated 400 yards off Mount?s Bay, St Michael?s Mount is separated from the mainland by a causeway which is covered by sea at high water. Crossing the bay to the sea-bound castle is a mini adventure in itself. When tides allow, you can leave the mainland behind on foot, otherwise hop onboard a boat and enjoy a trip into the harbour where trading ships once moored when it was a busy tin trading port. There, you?ll discover an evocative castle, a sub-tropical garden paradise and a close-knit island community. Thought to date from around 400BC, St Michael?s Mount has had many incarnations; a major spiritual centre, a site of pilgrimage and a military stronghold and continues to be a much loved family home. The St Aubyn family live in the castle at the summit and the seafront cottages are home to more than 30 islanders, whose jobs range from boatman to gardener, guide to handyman.
Stay at the Godolphin Arms, which offers ten stylish, light and airy en-suite bedrooms. The rooms have pretty coastal interiors and very comfortable beds with crisp, white linen to encourage a dreamy night’s sleep. The majority have fantastic sea views and some have balconies overlooking St Michael’s Mount. Further seaside touches extend to their Cornish welcome, with bucket and spades and fishing nets warmly loaned to all their Little Godolphin guests!
HOW: Double Rooms start from from £150 per night (high season), including full Cornish Breakfast. To book, visit www.godolphinarms.co.uk
St Ouen?s is the longest beach in Jersey, spanning nearly the full length of the island?s West coast. Five miles of beautiful sandy beach, washed twice daily by the waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean, means it?s reminiscent of the Med, but the fort out in the sea and endless green fields that sit behind it are unmistakably from the British Isles. Sand dunes support over 400 plant species in La Mielle de Morville conservation area, which provides another beautiful place to walk and is the starting point for the longer, circular routes. The surfing from St Ouen?s Beach could rival anywhere in the world. Visitors and locals enjoy a range of coastal activities including surfing, windsurfing and blo-karting.
Stay at the Atlantic Hotel, situated in a conservation area of outstanding natural beauty and has the view to prove it. It?s a luxury, boutique, family run hotel with just 50 bedrooms, indoor and outdoor pools and set in a conservation area of six acres. Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic has retained its Michelin-star for nine consecutive years. Executive Head Chef Mark Jordan uses the finest local ingredients including famous Jersey royals, fresh seafood and cheeses made from the milk of Jersey cows. The seafood comes directly from the bay below the hotel and includes the freshest lobster and oysters in Europe due to the island?s tides.
HOW: Double rooms start from £250 a night. Their Summer Special offer runs from 3rd of July until 19th of September: book six nights and get the seventh free (from £750pp for seven nights); book via www.theatlantichotel.com.
Trearddur Bay is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty with a blue-flag beach and an abundance of crystal clear rock pools to explore. Surrounding the bay is a ridge of low lying cliffs that offer beautiful views across the sea and of the western shores of Holy Island. The summer is perfect for water-based activities such as swimming, sailing and windsurfing, whilst those who prefer to relax on terra firma will enjoy the 18-hole golf course at nearby Holyhead. To explore further afield, you can take a quick ferry trip to Dublin and enjoy the famous Irish hospitality. At the South Stack Lighthouse, nature enthusiasts can take advantage of the RSPB Reserve and view a variety of birds in their natural habitat.
Base yourself at Holyhead Spinnaker cottage, a three-bedroomed terraced coastal cottage in Trearddur Bay, with sea views from some of the upstairs rooms and just a few minutes walk to the beach. There is a king-size double and a double room on the second floor, a twin room and bathroom on the first floor, and downstairs, an open plan living area with kitchen, dining area and sitting area. Outside is off road parking for two cars, a shared side lawn, and patios to the front and rear. This is in a perfect location for enjoying the village’s sandy beach, or a round of golf on the local course, or making the most of the sailing and fishing the island is known for.
HOW: Prices from £451 for 3 nights. Book via www.snaptrip.com/properties/beautiful-holyhead-spinnaker-s5702
Pwll Du is situated in the heart of The Gower Peninsula, Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This beautiful, picturesque beach has a history rich in smuggling and quarrying and is a haven to walkers, artists and nature lovers and considered by many as Gower’s best kept secret.
Pretty and pebbly, Pwll Du Bay beach sits at the bottom of a valley so is very secluded. It’s one for the more adventurous, as access is limited to just three footpaths. Pwll Du Bay was once an extensive limestone quarry. The buildings that remain were once inns for the thirsty workers. The bay was also a popular smuggling cove with some of the contraband maybe being sold in the local inns – Poldark, eat your heart out! Pwll Du Head is the highest headland on Gower and offers fantastic views of Pennard Cliffs and the coastline towards Mumbles.
Stay in the charming and picturesque Ship Cottage, which sleeps up to 4 people; it’s one of only two cottages set right on the beach, and was a former pub dating back to 1700. If you’re coming by car, you have to leave it in Bishopston and get picked up in the owner’s 4×4, due to the rockiness of the path.
HOW: Ship Cottage costs from around £425 a week in high season. To book, visit www.homefromhome.com/cottage-details/652.